My family and I once drove up to the top of Pikes Peak, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains. Around 14,000 feet above sea level, we took in the breathtaking views of winding mountaintop lakes, rock formations, forests, and soaring mountains on all sides. The whole scene has been etched into our family’s collective memory, to be shared over and over.
I know there are many ways to take in nature and experience its splendor. A wildlife enthusiast might marvel at the creatures that inhabit the area, a geology buff would be impressed at the stories the mountains tell, an adrenaline junkie would thrill in the highest climb or even a more extreme sport, but what I saw was a massive expression of God.
I’m in awe of how God created these stunning scenes, not based on my worthiness, nor the collective worthiness of humanity. Knowing our fallen nature, He still created this beautiful world. Somehow He connected humanity to this creation, and to each other. Through the physical nature, the mountains, oceans, forests, deserts, plains, and waters, we get a glimpse of His nature: enduring, awesome, fearsome, and life-giving.
What’s more, anyone can experience His wonder, regardless of where we stand with God. The Bible says He sends the rain on the just and the unjust, showing His love for us as a whole. His creation demonstrates His desire to care and sustain the world and His faithfulness toward us regardless of our actions. Creation, nature, is renewing, continually showing hope and promise, even in the wake of disaster and catastrophe.
I feel small, just a little note in a fantastic and enormous symphony, but I also feel known. I hope you also get a chance to stand on top of the world, so your soul can exclaim with mine, O God, how great Thou art!
Whether it’s a pebble in a riverbed or a soaring mountain peak, I see everything in the world as the handiwork of the Lord. When I paint, I try to represent the beauty of God’s creation in my art. … Because I see God’s peacefulness, serenity, and contentment, I work to capture those feelings on the canvas. My vision of God defines my vision of the world.—Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012)